Rating The Westerns

Now, if there's one genre of film that I'm a particular fan of, it has to be the old westerns. Like most boys, I fell in love with the depiction of the wild west in movies like Unforgiven, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, The Magnificent Seven and of course, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

And somehow, guys like Clint Eastwood and John Wayne were actually cool despite being at least 105 years old.

I'd like to say that there has been at least a handful of good Wild West movies in recent years- but I can't. There haven't been any. And then, out of nowhere come 2 films set in the wild west that have already been getting rave reviews.

'3:10 to Yuma' came first starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale and is one of the few movies this year that truly lives up to the hype. The film tells the story of a poor rancher named Dan Evans (Christian Bale) who winds up helping to capture and escort the legendary outlaw Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) to the the prison car on the 3:10 train to Yuma, where Wade faces trial after robbing a stage-coach loaded with money. It all sounds simple in theory, until Wade's right hand man comes to liberate the captured outlaw and the movie turns into a battle of wills between Wade and Evans- both portrayed brilliantly by Crowe and Bale. A great film.

Next comes 'The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford'. Now that's one hell of a title for a movie and a title that Brad Pitt fought hard to keep, as I found out yesterday at the film's premiere at the Ziegfeld Cinema in New York.

A different breed of western to 3:10 to Yuma. It's definitely not as fast paced as 3:10 but a beautiful movie none the less and a real insight into the final days of one of the most notorious gun-slingers from the Old West- Jesse James.